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Tuesday, November 13, 2007

FIFA miscalculated the rankings


November 14th, 2007: There is no error - see the explanation. I apologize if I've caused any problems. The rankings prior to July 2006 are purely historical and are not used in the calculations of points. The original article follows (just to better illustrate my mistake):

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FIFA has some errors in their latest ranking published in October.

Allow me to explain:

I've taken the FIFA Ranking method from this document: http://www.fifa.com/mm/document/fifafacts/rawrank/ip-590_10e_wrpointcalculation_8771.pdf

The results are available at this location: http://www.fifa.com/worldfootball/results/male.html



I will illustrate these errors using my home country, Romania. No fewer than 18 matches have the wrong total. Basically, all matches played before the 2006 WC have errors, although FIFA states the same formula applies for those matches too (check the match examples at the end of the FIFA Ranking method).

Column order:

1. Date
2. Match type
3. Match details
4. Romania's opponent rank
5. Computed points
6. Official FIFA points
7. Assumed FIFA Ranking based on the official FIFA points (taken from a recent FIFA media release - see the image above)

16.11.2003 F  ITA - ROU 1:0 (0:0)   8    0        0
18.02.2004 F ROU - GEO 3:0 (1:0) 94 318 432 56
31.03.2004 F SCO - ROU 1:2 (0:1) 56 432 483 39
28.04.2004 F ROU - GER 5:1 (4:0) 7 579 573 9
27.05.2004 F IRL - ROU 1:0 (0:0) 15 0 0
18.08.2004 WQ ROU - FIN 2:1 (0:0) 49 1132.5 1072.5 57
04.09.2004 WQ ROU - MKD 2:1 (1:0) 88 840 765 98
08.09.2004 WQ AND - ROU 1:5 (1:3) 148 390 375 150
09.10.2004 WQ CZE - ROU 1:0 (1:0) 6 0 0
17.11.2004 WQ ARM - ROU 1:1 (0:1) 123 192.5 290 84
09.02.2005 F ROU - SVK 2:2 (1:2) 53 147 128 72
26.03.2005 WQ ROU - NED 0:2 (0:1) 7 0 0
30.03.2005 WQ MKD - ROU 1:2 (1:1) 94 795 847.5 87
04.06.2005 WQ NED - ROU 2:0 (1:0) 5 0 0
08.06.2005 WQ ROU - ARM 3:0 (2:0) 121 592.5 675 110
17.08.2005 WQ ROU - AND 2:0 (2:0) 134 495 457.5 139
03.09.2005 WQ ROU - CZE 2:0 (1:0) 4 1470 1477.5 3
08.10.2005 WQ FIN - ROU 0:1 (0:1) 40 1200 1012.5 65
12.11.2005 F ROU - CIV 1:2 (0:0) 48 0 0
16.11.2005 F ROU - NGA 3:0 (1:0) 23 491.175 482.85 26
28.02.2006 F ROU - ARM 2:0 (0:0) 108 276 282 106
01.03.2006 F SVN - ROU 0:2 (0:1) 70 390 414 62
23.05.2006 F ROU - URU 0:2 (0:0) 22 0 0
26.05.2006 F ROU - NIR 2:0 (2:0) 96 312 384 72
27.05.2006 F ROU - COL 0:0 27 172.135 181.09 18
16.08.2006 F ROU - CYP 2:0 (2:0) 90 330 330
02.09.2006 CQ ROU - BUL 2:2 (1:0) 36 410 410
06.09.2006 CQ ALB - ROU 0:2 (0:0) 62 1035 1035
07.10.2006 CQ ROU - BLR 3:1 (2:1) 65 1012.5 1012.5
15.11.2006 F ESP - ROU 0:1 (0:0) 10 570 570
07.02.2007 F ROU - MDA 2:0 (0:0) 85 345 345
24.03.2007 CQ NED - ROU 0:0 7 482.5 482.5
28.03.2007 CQ ROU - LUX 3:0 (1:0) 178 375 375
02.06.2007 CQ SVN - ROU 1:2 (0:0) 76 930 930
06.06.2007 CQ ROU - SVN 2:0 (1:0) 76 930 930
22.08.2007 F ROU - TUR 2:0 (0:0) 22 534 534
08.09.2007 CQ BLR - ROU 1:3 (1:2) 69 982.5 982.5
12.09.2007 F GER - ROU 3:1 (1:1) 5 0 0
13.10.2007 CQ ROU - NED 1:0 (0:0) 5 1462.5 1462.5
17.10.2007 CQ LUX - ROU 0:2 (0:1) 176 375 375

Total points (published by FIFA): 1086.28
Correct total points: 1081.55

Of course, it's not a big difference, but this is proof that FIFA has some problems with the ranking software. Remember the November rankings will be used to seed the UEFA teams for the 2010 WC preliminary draw. This could get interesting... In a couple of days I will post all the differences I've found.

Detailed analysis of the error matches:

18.02.2004 (Friendly) Romania - Georgia 3 - 0

Romania gets 432 points for this match according to FIFA.

Let's calculate the assumed Georgia ranking:

Both countries are from UEFA: Regional strength = 1
Friendly match: Match value = 1
Romania wins: Points = 3

Opponent strength = (200 - Opponent Ranking)/100 (for countries ranked lower than 1 and higher than 150)

Georgia Ranking = 200 - 432/(1 * 1 * 3) = 56th

The match took place in February 2004. Georgia was ranked 93rd in Jan 2004, 94th in Feb 2004.

31.03.2004 (Friendly) Scotland - Romania 1 - 2

Romania gets 483 points.

Assumed Scotland ranking: 39th.

In Mar 2004, Scotland was 56th.

28.04.2004 (Friendly) Romania - Germany 5 - 1

Romania gets 573 points.

Assumed Germany ranking: 9th.

In Apr 2004, Germany was 7th.

18.08.2004 (WC Qualifier) Romania - Finland 2 - 1

Romania gets 1072.5 points.

Assumed Finland ranking: 57th.

In Aug 2004, Finland was 49th.

04.09.2004 (WC Qualifier) Romania - Macedonia FYR 2 - 1

Romania gets 765 points.

Assumed Macedonia FYR ranking: 98th.

In Sep 2004, Macedonia FYR was 88th.

08.09.2004 (WC Qualifier) Andorra - Romania 1 - 5

Romania gets 375 points.

Assumed Andorra ranking: 150th or lower.

In Sep 2004, Andorra was 148th.

17.11.2004 (WC Qualifier) Armenia - Romania 1 - 1

Romania gets 290 points.

Assumed Armenia ranking: 84th.

In Nov 2004, Armenia was 123th.

09.02.2005 (Friendly) Romania - Slovakia 2 - 2

Romania gets 128 points.

Assumed Slovakia ranking: 72nd.

In Jan 2005, Slovakia was 53rd.

30.03.2005 (WC Qualifier) Macedonia FYR - Romania 1 - 2

Romania gets 847.5 points.

Assumed Macedonia FYR ranking: 87th.

In Mar 2005, Macedonia FYR was 94th.

08.06.2005 (WC Qualifier) Romania - Armenia 3 - 0

Romania gets 675 points.

Assumed Armenia ranking: 110th.

In May 2005, Armenia was 121st.

17.08.2005 (WC Qualifier) Romania - Andorra 2 - 0

Romania gets 457.5 points.

Assumed Andorra ranking: 139th.

In Aug 2005, Andorra was 134th.

03.09.2005 (WC Qualifier) Romania - Czech Republic 2 - 0

Romania gets 1477.5 points.

Assumed Czech Republic ranking: 3rd.

In Aug 2005, Czech Republic was 4th.

08.10.2005 (WC Qualifier) Finland - Romania 0 - 1

Romania gets 1012.5 points.

Assumed Finland ranking: 65th.

In Sep 2005, Finland was 40th .

16.11.2005 (Friendly) Romania - Nigeria 3 - 0

Romania gets 482.85 points.

Assumed Nigeria ranking: 26th.

In Oct 2005, Nigeria was 23rd.

28.02.2006 (Friendly) Romania - Armenia 2 - 0

Romania gets 282 points.

Assumed Armenia ranking: 106th.

In Feb 2006, Armenia was 108th.

01.03.2006 (Friendly) Slovenia - Romania 0 - 2

Romania gets 414 points.

Assumed Slovenia ranking: 62nd.

In Feb 2006, Slovenia was 70th.

26.05.2006 (Friendly) Romania - Northern Ireland 2 - 0

Romania gets 384 points.

Assumed Northern Ireland ranking: 72nd.

In May 2006, Northern Ireland was 96th.

27.05.2006 (Friendly) Romania - Colombia 0 - 0

Romania gets 181.09 points.

Assumed Colombia ranking: 18th .

In May 2006, Colombia was 27th.

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